What to Do After an 18 Wheeler Accident
18 wheeler accidents can cause severe, life-changing, and even fatal injuries. If you’re in an accident involving an 18 wheeler truck, you deserve a chance to claim a fair amount of compensation for your injuries. To help you protect your legal rights and present the strongest possible claim, here’s what to do immediately after the truck crash.
Protect Yourself From Further Injury
After an 18 wheeler accident, try to stay calm. Check that everyone is safe and, if possible, move your vehicle over to the side of the road. Try to move a safe distance away from the crash site to avoid further injury.
Although you should move to safety, it’s important that you stay near the scene of the accident. Otherwise, you may be accused of leaving the scene.
Evaluate the Scene for Medical Emergencies
Call 911 for an ambulance if someone is severely injured and needs immediate medical attention. If you’re too injured to move, don’t risk causing yourself further injury – wait for help to arrive.
Accidents involving 18 wheeler trucks can cause major debris. If there are any signs of a fire or smoke, you will also need the fire department. Tell the 911 dispatcher what’s happening at the scene and how many vehicles are involved in the crash, and they will help to determine which emergency services you need.
Contact the Police
If there are no medical emergencies, your next step is calling the police. Although there’s no legal requirement to report minor accidents, 18 wheeler accidents are significant and should always be reported.
For 18 wheeler accidents in Texas, the police will compile an accident report documenting what happened. This report can help to confirm who is at fault for the accident, and you can use it as evidence to support your case.
Take Pictures of the Scene
Pictures and videos of the crash scene can be used as evidence. Take pictures or record a video of your injuries, property damage, road debris, and any road hazards e.g. fallen branches or oil spills. Save any dashcam footage if you have it, and make a note of the time of day and weather conditions.
Exchange basic details with the truck driver and any other parties involved in the crash. Try to also obtain the name of the truck driver’s employer, details of their commercial driver’s license, and their license plate number.
Gather Witness Details
If anyone witnessed the crash, ask for their name and basic contact details. They might be able to offer valuable insights into what happened at the scene. Don’t worry about taking a statement from them – that’s a job for your attorney or police officers.
Did the crash happen on a busy street with businesses nearby? They may have security camera footage depicting the collision.
Seek Medical Attention
No matter how “minor” your injuries may seem, contact a doctor. Sinister and potentially life-threatening injuries – such as internal bleeding – can take a while to manifest, so err on the side of caution and get checked out. Medical evidence can be used to support your claim and prove what happened, so visit your ER department or family doctor.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Once you’ve attended to your medical needs, call a personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can evaluate the evidence, determine if you have a claim, and fight to ensure you get what you’re entitled to.
What Should I Avoid Doing After an 18 Wheeler Accident in Texas?
A personal injury attorney can ensure you take the right steps following a truck accident, so you should hire one as soon as possible. But in the meantime, here’s what not to do after an 18 wheeler crash.
Do Not Leave the Scene
Unless you’re escorted away for emergency medical care, don’t leave the scene until the police confirm it’s fine to go. Otherwise, you could be accused of leaving an accident scene – an accusation which could result in criminal charges.
Do Not Leave the Scene
An insurance company’s offer might sound good, but how do you know if it’s really a fair settlement? Unless you have experience valuing insurance and personal injury claims, you might be unsure whether it’s worth negotiating for a higher amount. An experienced lawyer can determine if it’s a fair offer and they’ll help you seek more compensation if this is in your best interests.
Do Not Admit Liability
Do not admit liability to the other driver or to your insurance company. Stick to basic facts only. Admitting fault could reduce the amount of compensation you’re entitled to – let the evidence speak for itself.
Do Not Postpone Medical Treatment
Even if you think that your injuries are minor, seek treatment right away. If you delay treatment, here’s what could happen.
- Some serious conditions – such as concussion – can take a while to manifest. Delays could mean you develop more severe injuries.
- The insurance company might argue that your injuries are not as significant as you’re suggesting, or they’re unrelated to the crash.
Medical evidence can help your claim. See a doctor as soon as possible following any 18 wheeler truck accident.
Do Not Make Social Media Posts
Social media posts about the accident could be used against you – especially if you downplay the severity of your injuries. Do not talk about the incident online or post pictures of the accident scene.
Do Not Accept a Settlement Offer Without Consulting an Attorney
You deserve a fair settlement which truly represents the injuries and harms you’ve experienced. Settlement offers are not always reasonable, especially initial offers. Always consult an attorney for advice before accepting any money.
How Long After an 18 Wheeler Accident Do I Have to File a Claim?
Under the “statute of limitations”, there’s a time limit for filing civil lawsuits such as personal injury claims. The time limit varies depending on the type of claim that you’re dealing with. In Texas 18 wheeler accident claims, you have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. If you try to claim compensation beyond this date, your case may be dismissed for being out of time.
Are you close to your claims deadline? Contact the AK Law Firm immediately for advice.
18 Wheeler Truck Accident Attorneys in Texas
If you’ve been injured in an 18 wheeler accident, you can claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. The truck accident attorneys at the AK Law Firm are waiting and ready to help you claim the damages you’re entitled to – call our law firm today to get the compensation you deserve.